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Dinkytown, USA, Grodnik
The Varsity Theater on 4th Street SE
The Varsity Theater on 4th Street SE
Dinkytown is within the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood of the U.S. city of Minneapolis
Dinkytown is within the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood of the U.S. city of Minneapolis
Coordinates: 44°58′51″N 93°14′10″W / 44.98083°N 93.23611°W / 44.98083; -93.23611Coordinates: 44°58′51″N 93°14′10″W / 44.98083°N 93.23611°W / 44.98083; -93.23611
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Hennepin
City Minneapolis
Neighborhood Marcy-Holmes
Branded 1940s
Founded by Unknown
Named for Grodnik or Dinkys
City Council Ward 3
 • Councilmember Jacob Frey
Elevation 830 ft (253 m)
Population (2012)[1][2]
 • Urban 392,880
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 612
Fans of the Minnesota Golden Gophers riot in Dinkytown after the Gophers won the 2003 Frozen Four

Dinkytown is a commercial district within the Marcy-Holmes residential neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Centered at 14th Avenue Southeast and 4th Street Southeast, the district contains several city blocks occupied by various small businesses, restaurants, bars, and apartment buildings that house mostly University of Minnesota students. Though known for being the home of local businesses, the character has changed in recent years with a slight increase in more nationally-recognized chains, though many small local businesses still thrive. Dinkytown is along the north side of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities East Bank campus.[3]

Notable landmarks include the Dinkydome (a former theological seminary converted to a food court which sometime later was converted into loft space), Burrito Loco, the Loring Pasta Bar (formerly Gray's Campus Drug and also the building where Bob Dylan lived in Minneapolis), and Al's Breakfast (arguably the city's smallest restaurant). It's also the location of the 2nd store opened by Richard M. Schulze called "Sound of Music" which later became Best Buy.

Several notable establishments include Vescio's Italian restaurant, which opened in the 1950s, Annie's Parlour, and The Book House. The former Marshall-University High School on the corner of 14th Avenue and 5th street was closed in 1982 due to low enrollment and was purchased and converted into the University Technology Enterprise Center (UTEC) for startups.[4] The building was razed in 2013, and today the location is home to The Marshall, a luxury apartment building for University students. The Chateau co-op built their brutalist-style 22-story apartment co-op in 1973 at 13th Avenue Southeast and 5th Street Southeast.[5]


The name Dinkytown is of uncertain origin, although it was in definite use by 1948, when the Dinkytown Business Association formed.

Stories regarding the origin of the name include

  • The streetcars, called Dinkys, that used to provide transit throughout the area.
  • Similarly, the chicken tenders at the nearby railyard were called Dinkys due to their small but snackable size.
  • The theatre in Dinkytown had only four rows of seats, and for years was known as "The Dinky Theater." Shortly thereafter, it was just "The Dinky."
  • It's a small town-like area; everything is within walking distance.
  • The Loring Pasta Bar, previously Gray's Drug on 14th Ave. SE and 4th St. SE has the name of an early owner carved in cement over the doorway: "Grodnik," meaning a small (or dinky) town. The name of the early owner was Louis Grodnik. He owned a haberdashery at that location and built the building. His brother, Hela Grodnik, always claimed that he was the one who named the area when he said that "This is getting to be a real 'Dinky Town." Hela then went on to work for another brother, Jacob Grodnik, at Grodnik Jewelry at 7th and Hennepin in Minneapolis. Louis also owned a haberdashery at 4th and Hennepin known as "Grodnik and Fassbinder".
  • Then-Gopher football player Frank "Dinky" Rog, whose large group of friends spent much time down here in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
  • Another conjecture which has been made is that "Grod" means "town" as in Stalingrad and that "nik" is the diminutive form. Hence small or dinky town.[6]


  1. ^ "Twin Cities Region Population and Household Estimates, 2006" (PDF). Metropolitan Council. 2006-04-01. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  2. ^ "Table 2: Population Estimates for the 100 Most Populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas Based on July 1, 2006 Population Estimates: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  3. ^ Weber, Tom; Kaiser, Emily (July 9, 2015). "The Dinkytown history you don't know: Three stories". Minnesota Public Radio News. Retrieved July 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ Sacarelos, Callie (18 July 2012). "Apartments could replace Dinkytown's UTEC building". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Riverton Community Housing. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "About Dinkytown". Dinkytown. Retrieved 20 Mar 2015. 

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